Some notes on Sartarite land ownership


In theory, all arable land belongs to the Earth Goddess. As a practical matter, cultivable land is usually allocated by her local husband (in Sartar, this is the tribal Orlanth cult or by the clan, or both). Normally, the clan claims what it can defend and work, and the tribe backs that up. As long as the rights and wishes of the Earth Goddess are upheld, the Earth temple goes along with this.The tribe or clan might alienate their community rights over some piece of land and assign it to a temple, another tribe, or even to the Prince of Sartar. This is how the cities worked – the tribes all gave up their exclusive rights to part of their land and gave it to a council made up of all the tribes. It is even possible for a tribe or clan to be convinced to alienate some land in exchange for a lot of silver. But again, in all of these cases the rights of the Earth temples need to be acknowledged (which is usually a percentage of the harvest). All of this ends up involving a lot of haggling between armed kinship groups. But in theory, the tribal king can have the clans give up land in order to support retainers, priests, etc (which is exactly what happens in a few scenarios). This land usually already has people that are working it, so it is really about who gets the additional renders – the clan, a thane, the tribe, a temple, whatever.Pasture lands are handled differently. The livestock graze wherever they can be defended. If you graze your herds in lands claimed by another tribe or clan, they might gather some warriors together and chase you off. If you can defend your herd then either the clan or tribe needs to get a bigger group of warriors or needs to tacitly accept it. Clans mark their boundaries in order to signal what they are willing to protect and claim as their own.If this whole thing sounds pretty turbulent, that’s because it is. Thanks to the Sartar Dynasty, there has been a non-violent means of resolving disputes over land – appeal to the Prince. That’s kept these borders from changing a lot, which in the long run tends to make things more secure. But from time to time a clan or tribe loses land because it simply can’t protect it any more and the Earth Temple no longer acknowledges them as its protectors.

Artist, Simon Roy

At a certain point, Orlanthi land rights are what you can get others to accept, mainly though kinship ties, cult status, and personal might.

I think this is broadly speaking the system of land ownership found throughout the Orlanthi Belt from the Holy County through Maniria, Dragon Pass and the Pelorian hills to Ralios and Fronela. I expect we have a different system in Dara Happa and in the Malkioni West.